Volume 84 | Issue 4
July/August 2016

Union Spotlight: Siena College

Contributor: Jason Rich

Siena College

Four-year, Private, Suburban, Catholic (Franciscan)
Full-Time Enrollment: 3,139
Location: Albany, N.Y.

Sarazen Student Union

Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development: Karen Keis
Size: 44,100 sq. ft.
Floors: 3
Year Built: 2001 (renovated in 2014)
Student Staff: 25 part-time
Nonstudent Staff: 3 full-time, 2 part-time

Named after professional golfer Gene Sarazen, the Sarazen Student Union serves as the center for campus life, providing educational, cultural, social, recreational, and leadership programs and services integral to the academic experience. “The Squire” was the first golfer to win all four major golf tournaments to complete the career Grand Slam. Sarazen received an honorary degree from Siena College in 1978 and subsequently established a scholarship endowment that has blossomed to more than $2 million.

“We promote fellowship, inclusiveness, understanding, and empathy throughout the Siena community, and having a space that students can identify as uniquely theirs is an important first step to building these conditions,” said Karen Keis, director of student activities and leadership development.

Unique Features
The crown jewel of the recent renovation project is Casey’s Student Lounge, featuring a Starbucks, a performance stage, games room, and grab-and-go dining options. The Paddock, located just outside Casey’s, includes a large gas fire pit, a barbecue grill, overhead lighting, and decking. The Maloney Great Room is one of the largest meeting spaces on campus and the site of major events and national lecture series.

Students’ Role
Siena offers more than 85 clubs and organizations contributing to a vibrant campus atmosphere that is centered at the union. Students play an essential role in the operation with 25 part-time student staff, and they had tremendous input into its design. Siena’s Student Senate oversees the campus clubs and serves as liaison between faculty, administration, and students. The Student Government Association, which is made up of Student Senate, Student Events Board (SEB), Residence Hall Association, and the Commuter Student Association, all have offices in the union to allow for collaboration and a way for the student body to easily communicate with these organizations. Many events to promote social justice are also hosted in the Student Union, including the annual One Billion Rising event, which strives to eliminate violence toward women, and the Charity Auction, which raises money for our SEB Philanthropy chosen by students each year.

Every weekend, “Siena Night Life” invigorates the union with programs run by student staff. Past student-run events have also included Family Feud, dance parties, off-campus bowling, dodgeball tournaments, live music, trivia nights, a country-themed night with a mechanical bull, and spa night. Siena’s active Student Events Board sponsors coffeehouse events, Winter Weekend, SienaFest, philanthropy events, de-stress events, and open mic nights.

Diversity enriches the Siena experience for everyone. Located in the union, the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center works to provide services and events that promote diversity in a fun, engaging way. The Interfaith Prayer Room brings together students from different backgrounds and allows community members of all religions to celebrate their faith. Siena’s own radio station, 88.3 FM WVCR “The Saint,” is housed in the atrium of the union. Here, students and professionals alike come together to serve the Capital Region with entertainment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.